This week’s two-part “Coffee With Kyle” is a sure-to-be classic with a classic broadcaster, NASCAR Hall of Famer Ken Squier.
Kyle Petty visited Squier at the radio station which has been in his family since 1930, WDEV Radio/Radio Free Vermont, in Waterbury, Vermont (Squier still works at the station today, including giving daily sports updates).
It’s where Squier got his start at the tender age of 15, calling sprint car and midget car races in his home state.
“That was where I decided I would spend the rest of my life,” Squier told Petty. “God, I loved those cars and I had to find a way to do it (for his profession).”
Squier’s life has been split between covering NASCAR and short track racing. At the age of 25, and a 10-year veteran of motorsports by that point, Squier was part of a group that built Thunder Road International Speedbowl – a high-banked, quarter-mile asphalt oval that still operates today.
A few years after that, Squier helped co-found and began calling NASCAR races for the Motor Racing Network. Both his life and the sport of NASCAR would never be the same.
Squier became the voice of NASCAR at first. But then he eventually moved in front of the TV camera to become the face of NASCAR as well for ABC, then CBS and TBS.
Shortly after World War II, Squier met fellow legendary broadcaster Chris Economaki, who became a close friend and a mentor to the lanky kid from Vermont.
“He became the singular voice,” Squier said of Economaki. “I was fascinated by him. He really understood (racing).”
Then in a humorous twist, Squier compared his own “racing career” with that of Economaki.
“He, too, started out to be a racer; I think he ran one race,” Squier said. “I thought I was the next Indianapolis star.
“I ran a couple heats (in a local race in Vermont) and a guy in a six-cylinder Plymouth and I went down into Turn 1 and I knew no one had ever surpassed what I was doing in that corner.
“This guy pulled up alongside me, waved and went on. I thought, ‘Well, maybe I have to rethink all this.’”
Among some of the most notable accomplishments of Squier’s career was not only calling so many races – including every Daytona 500 from 1979 through 1997 – but also some of the great phraseology that Squier brought to the sport, including the following:
* “These are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.
* “Common men doing uncommon deeds.
* “The Great American Race,” which became the motto of the Daytona 500
* “The Alabama Gang”
Check out Part 1 of Petty’s interview with Squier in the video above.
And then when you’re done, click the video below for Part 2 of the interview.